The WEC Portimao 2023 race took place at the stunning Algarve region in Portugal, and it proved to be an exciting event with Toyota dominating the Portimão 6 Hours. The race saw many mechanical issues among various prototypes in the Hypercar class, but Toyota emerged as the ultimate victor. In this article, we’ll recap the highlights of the race and delve into the performances of the different classes.
Toyota’s GR010 Hybrid continued its dominance in the Hypercar class, with the No.8 car of Sébastien Buemi, Ryo Hirakawa, and Brendon Hartley taking the top spot. This marks the second victory for Toyota this season, after their win at Sebring. Their sister car, the No.7, faced some issues early in the race, forcing it to change the transmission and ultimately finishing in 9th place.
The Ferrari No.50 and Porsche No.6 cars completed the podium, finishing more than a lap behind the winning Toyota. This achievement marked Porsche’s first podium finish in the Hypercar class. Cadillac’s sole Hypercar finished just outside the podium, taking advantage of the issues faced by Toyota No.7 and Ferrari No.51.
Peugeot saw both of its 9X8 cars finish in the top 7, demonstrating improved reliability. The No.94 car finished in 5th place, while the No.93 started from the pitlane and still managed a respectable 7th place finish. Unfortunately, Jacques Villeneuve’s Vanwall car faced brake failure, causing a crash and the only Safety Car period of the race.
In the LMP2 class, the United Autosports team secured a one-two finish, with the No.23 car driven by Oliver Jarvis, Giedo Van der Garde, and Joshua Pierson taking the victory. Their sister car, the No.22, finished in second place, followed by the Team WRT’s No.41 car in third.
The pole-sitting Prema No.63 car, driven by Doriane Pin, Daniil Kvyat, and Mirko Bortolotti, lost their chance at victory due to the Safety Car. With more worn-out tires upon restart, they had to make an additional pit stop, ultimately finishing in 4th place. Alpine had a challenging race, with their cars finishing in 8th and 11th positions.
The Corvette No.33, driven by Ben Keating, Nicolas Varrone, and Nicky Catsburg, secured their second consecutive victory in the GTE-Am class. They managed to hold off the charging Ferrari from the Richard Mille AF Corse team, driven by Lilou Wadoux, Alessio Rovera, and Luis Perez Companc. This podium finish marked the first WEC podium for the 22-year-old French driver, Wadoux.
Completing the GTE-Am podium were the Iron Dames, driving the Porsche No.85 car. The all-female team of Rahel Frey, Michelle Gatting, and Sarah Bovy showed impressive performance and consistency throughout the race, ultimately finishing in third place.